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How The Google Boys Get Around

written by John Chow on December 29, 2006

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googlejet.jpg

They say one of the first thing new billionaires buy when they reach billionaire status is a private jet. For Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, a normal jet just wouldn’t do. No, they had to buy a Boeing 767 so they can have some elbow room.

The custom jet (pictured above) was recently spotted at Christchurch Airport in New Zealand. The Press was unable to confirm yesterday whether Brin or Page was on board.

I do not have the exact figure on me but I believe a new Boeing 767 sells for $180 million (Brin and Page bought their jet used). Rumor has it another $50 million was spent to redo the interior so the big jet can have two bedrooms and adjoining bathrooms, a sitting area and a large galley. Seating capacity has been reduced to just 50 passengers.

However much the Google jet cost, it’s an expensive way to get around. You can imagine something like this would cause a hell rising at the Google shareholder’s meeting, and you would be right. However, Google doesn’t own the plane – Brin and Page paid for it out of their own pockets so the shareholders can’t complain about Google spending its money on big toys.

While Google Inc. may not have paid for the jet, Google does reimburse Brin and Page if they use the jet for official business. So if that trip to New Zealand was for Google business, Google would pay the cost of flying Brin and Page to their destination. The rate is based on the flying cost of the jet. I think on a 767, it’s about $25,000 an hour. So if it took the jet 8 hours to fly to New Zealand, the trip cost Google $200,000. And of course, they have to fly home too.

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{ 42 comments }

Andy December 29, 2006 at 1:33 pm

Thats Sweet – I want a Jet
Being able to get $200K from the company wouldn’t be bad either

Ana December 29, 2006 at 1:43 pm

Oh Man…When am I going to buy a jet like that.

HMTKSteve December 29, 2006 at 1:46 pm

Who cares what the shareholders think? They don’t have any voting rights!

They don’t get paid dividends either…

So, what do you get for buying Google stock?

John Chow December 29, 2006 at 1:49 pm

Steve – The stock goes up in value. You won’t find many shareholders complaining, esp the ones who bought Google at the $85 IPO price. Google trades at $500 a share now. The shareholders do have voting rights. Just not enough to control the board.

Al Davies December 29, 2006 at 2:00 pm

I understand the need for privacy and peace of mind when you’re rich and have celebrity status but these guys could fly in first class on any commercial airliner and 95% of the people they would meet would have no idea who they are

Thomas December 29, 2006 at 2:13 pm

I guess when you have that much money and revenues continue to grow at the rate that they have been you could splurge out on a nice 767. Although, if I was in their position, not sure I’d buy a 767?

Tyler December 29, 2006 at 2:30 pm

John Travolta is the same way, he has his own license though and it’s what a 707 he owns as well as a gulfdstream? Both which he parks at his house.

Crazy! A buddy of mine from LD actually is now flying for a company with Learjets. He pulls in a starting sallary of $150k US. They payed for his LearJet training too!

Sami December 29, 2006 at 2:56 pm

Well, there are cheaper options: A HondaJet (www.hondajet.com) will set you back only $3.5 million to own. And Honda is known for it’s reliability; usually on land but hopefully in the air as well :)

Alex Becker December 29, 2006 at 3:01 pm

Sme things in life you can live without. And this is definatley one.

HMTKSteve December 29, 2006 at 3:07 pm

I agree, if you purchased it during the IPO you made a killing, but there is no way I would buy the stock now!

For the price of one share of Google stock I can buy about 15 shares of AT&T stock!

Google shares do not fluctuate enough over the course of the day to be worth buying. You are much better off buying a cheaper share with the same fluctuations as you can buy more of them.

A high-priced share only has investment value if it has a dividend or is expected to rise a lot higher in the short term.

Google shares were near $490 mid December and now they are near $460.

Over the same time period AT&T shares went up about $4.00.

For the price of one Google share you could have bought and sold 16 AT&T shares with a profit of $64!

John Chow December 29, 2006 at 3:20 pm

Google shares, like others, go up and down on a daily basis. However, the trend over a longer period has been up. Google is expected to hit $600 in 2007.

Leftblank December 29, 2006 at 3:23 pm

It’s a logical step for Google, this way they can simply take their [url=http://www.sun.com/emrkt/blackbox/index.jsp]Sun Blackbox[/url] with them in the back, just in case the local power drops.

I’d personally rather have bought a faster but smaller plane, after all time is money when you’re a millionaire, right?

Ed Lau December 29, 2006 at 3:47 pm

If I was going to spend that much on a plane, I’d at least paint it to be some pimp ass color.

Andy December 29, 2006 at 4:05 pm

I know, shareholdres shoud be happy enogh that shared increased 10x

Thomas Walker December 29, 2006 at 4:27 pm

I can’t imagine the shareholders are too worried by this, looking at the long term trends of their stock.

HMTKSteve December 29, 2006 at 4:36 pm

That’s one of the dilemmas with Google stock.

Yes, it goes up over the long haul but can you make more money buying a lower price stock over the same time period?

Earlier this month Google was sitting about $488 per share. If it reaches $600 in 2007 that would be an increase of $112 per share.

If AT&T shares increase in value by only $8 in that same time period (not counting dividends paid) you will have made more money for the same investment.

Google should split it’s stock at least 10:1 to bring the per share price down.

Thomas Walker December 29, 2006 at 4:55 pm

It’s all well analysing the potential $112 increase, but that statistic isn’t really important. Percentage growth on an investment is far more comparable, still, 20% is above the general market trend and certainly in keeping with Google’s long term increase. I don’t see what advantage Google would gain from splitting its stock to reduce the unit price…

StrangeProgress December 29, 2006 at 6:13 pm

Ooooh thats very close to where I live. I wonder what the goog duo were doing in my neck of the woods?

Hopefully they were here to kidnap the entire management of our primary telco company and dump them in a secret European detention camp for strangling our broadband internet speed and limits.

By the way, if any of you are ever in New Zealand for any length of time, do NOT have any dealings with Telecom / Xtra for your phone and internet. Their *amazing* new “unleashed” broadband plans are basically incapable of consistently streaming an MP3.

Sorry for the rant – I feel better now ;)

Matt

Dan December 29, 2006 at 8:04 pm

I went out to the airport yesterday and took a drive by photo of the “Google Jet”. I appreciate it’s a rather amateur shot.

http://www.itsjustbusiness.co.nz/2006/12/29/google-jet-in-new-zealand/

Gdog December 29, 2006 at 8:29 pm

They should have their Google Adwords program on the side of their 767…just imagine that!

Tony December 29, 2006 at 10:32 pm

They should have painted Goooooooogle on the side, with each window being an “O”.

Deirdre' Straughan December 30, 2006 at 12:00 am

Not doing too well on reducing their carbon footprint. I hope they’re planting a lot of trees! (or whatever the latest wisdom is on offsetting carbon emissions)

Nomar December 30, 2006 at 12:46 am

when you are such a rich boy.. i guess .. world is not so funny anymore.. no im really serious about this.. was thinking about it lately.. and i think.. if i have 1000 million..

heck..

i should go back to bed

Leftblank December 30, 2006 at 1:07 am

Well Nomar, if you make 1000 million and don’t consider it fun, just remind me, alright? It might be boring it you don’t need to do anything to get your daily needs, but on the other side I love the idea of now having to worry about what things cost but simply being able to buy them, same goes for studying, it’s also expensive…

Zoltan December 30, 2006 at 1:46 am

John… so far my only dream was an S Klass Mercedes and a nice castle, these dreams can become true… in a single life. Why do you make us more greedy with posts like the above one? :)

Thomas Walker December 30, 2006 at 2:54 am

There’s always going to be someone making more and buying better stuff than you, it shouldn’t make you greedy it should motivate you.

Leftblank December 30, 2006 at 4:48 am

… or make you feel even more depressed because you’ve lost your hope in becoming a multi millionaire as all fantastic ideas are already used ;)

Tyler December 30, 2006 at 8:31 am

Shareholders will be upset even if it isn’t company money.

The company I work for, the owner just recently purchased two (yes 2) brand new Bentleys. His and Hers actually.

This isn’t company money it, it was money from various investments and sales of some of their other cars.

Oh I better stop now else I’m going to go into a big rant since I too am an investor ;)

Kench December 30, 2006 at 10:31 am

What is it with those billionaires and private jets?

Michael Kwan December 30, 2006 at 10:41 am

I’d imagine that a prominent celebrity like Donald Trump or something would want a private jet if only to avoid flying with “normal” people and getting spotted/harassed. If you bumped into these Google boys on the street, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from any other suit.

HMTKSteve December 30, 2006 at 1:47 pm

If it wasn’t for rich folks buying things like jets, yachts and expensive cars many industries would not exist!

Not just that but many cutting edge technologies come from those high performance cars and then work there way down to the common car.

David Mackey December 30, 2006 at 2:17 pm

Wow. That’s pretty expensive travel. I can’t imagine having money to spend like that.

Mayo December 30, 2006 at 3:56 pm

If it was me in BB’s (^_^) i would take one of those Concorde retired planes, with 2.5 Machs on oceans you really have a quick and also expensive trip.
Although for that money they could, but also probably own a mega-yacht, for 150MM€ you have a 350ft long monster, with another smaller 75ft yacht inside, a Harrier airplane, and another chopper (^-ˇ)…. well i would rather take yacht and operate from there any kind of empire! LOL

Andrew December 30, 2006 at 4:22 pm

That’s awesome, a little bit much, but hey… they earned it :)

Leftblank December 31, 2006 at 2:07 am

Mayo, could be nice indeed, but the Concorde wasn’t allowed to land anywhere, except for a couple of airfields, so you wouldn’t be able to get very far with it. Quite a waste, it was a wonderful plane!

Mayo December 31, 2006 at 12:44 pm

Just something i will buy if i go earning at least 100MM p.a. from 2009. (^_˘) :

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71665-0.html

LOL! ;D

Andy December 31, 2006 at 12:58 pm

I want a supersonic private jet!! Can iget a cupon for a few $100,000,000s :)

Leftblank January 1, 2007 at 3:02 am

Andy, perhaps if we ask both and look them very sweet in the eyes? ;)

Mayo January 1, 2007 at 5:15 am

Pretty pleaseeeee! ;)))))))))

Eli January 10, 2007 at 7:43 pm

I was going to comment when this was first posted, but I didn’t really bother.

My comment on this is, I wouldn’t mind getting around like that :P

Also, this post would do really well on Digg, but it’s sad you’re banned..

Why is that by the way?

Dan January 11, 2007 at 1:38 am

It seems the Google Jet left Christchurch empty….. More here

http://www.itsjustbusiness.co.nz/2007/01/11/google-jet-in-new-zealand-one-final-post/

Jane January 14, 2007 at 7:52 pm

I wonder where they got the modifications to the plane done. I work with a few different Senior Managers at Boeing and they were telling me they don’t do that. But what do they know, a few mill will get you close to anything huh…

I think Germany might have been able to considering Airbus is based there.